Ben Gauslin named first Jacobs Fellow

Benjamin Gauslin (B.Arch. ‘95) has been selected as the first Jacobs Fellow by the Center for the Living City at Purchase College. Named after the noted author Jane Jacobs, the Fellowship will allow Mr. Gauslin to devote one full year working with ACORN Housing Corporation in New Orleans on affordable housing and neighborhood development efforts in low-income neighborhoods. A graduate of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Mr. Gauslin will work with ACORN on building and site inspections, developing preliminary designs and budgets for housing and commercial revitalization projects and the development of a pattern book for housing rehabilitation in the New Orleans East neighborhoods.

Mr. Gauslin was selected from a pool of highly qualified applicants from throughout the United States dedicating their lives to the field of public interest architecture and the service of low-income communities. Mr. Gauslin’s experience and demonstrated commitment to affordable housing design, including numerous awards for his work, were distinguishing factors in his selection. “When we looked closely at the applicant’s qualifications,” said selection committee member Ronald Shiffman, “Ben’s past commitment, strong design portfolio and his common-sense, holistic approach to community building made him a standout among applicants. The fact that he was already in New Orleans and had been volunteering was impressive.” Moreover, according to Stephen Goldsmith, the Center for the Living City’s acting director and a member of the selection committee, “Ben understands the unique challenges facing New Orleans residents. Creating affordable housing is only one piece of the complex rebuilding process facing the people of New Orleans, and Ben’s application expressed his understanding articulately.”

Established by the Center for the Living City, this inaugural Jacobs Fellowship is a collaboration with ACORN Housing Corporation, Deutsche Bank, Pratt Center for Community Development, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, and The Center for Architecture Foundation in New York City. The fellowship is the first in an ongoing Jacobs Fellowship Program of the Center. Fellowships will be created for individuals to engage in city-building processes of critical import in maintaining or regaining the strength of cities. Fellowships will occur across disciplines and will address the complex, interconnected problems facing cities throughout the world. This inaugural fellowship is funded through a generous grant from Deutsche Bank.

Established in 2005 in collaboration with Jane Jacobs, the Center for the Living City at Purchase College develops symposia, exhibitions, training programs, fellowships, internships, workshops and publications that approach city building issues using thoughtful, collaborative, participatory and transdisciplinary processes. The Center most recently created an exhibition with students from Purchase College titled, “Learning from Disaster: New Orleans after Katrina” held at the Museum of the City of New York.